February Seasonal Japanese Seafood 2月旬の魚

 

ankimo monkfish liver

February is one of the coldest months in Japan, so it is a wonderful time for hot pots (nabé). Monkfish (ankō) is one of Shinji’s favorite types of nabé. We always save the liver and serve it separately. Ankimo is often called the foie gras of the sea. It’s very easy to steam – see a simple recipe hereWakasagi is nice lovely when lightly battered and deep-fried.

As the waters are very cold this year, and as fish get ready to spawn in spring, they are rich with fat. This translates well into dishes like sashimi and nabé.

Image

hotaru ika

Some of the local seafood we look for this time of year include hotaru-ika and shira-ebi from Toyama Bay in the Sea of Japan. In Hokkaido there is of course cod (matara), ankō, and a very unusual fish called gokkōGokkō is a local fish in Hokkaido that is often used for nabé.

cod roe

cod milt with Urakasumi saké

As for matara (Pacific cod), there are so many delicious parts of it, from the meat to the shirako (milt) and matara no ko (roe). Milt is a delicacy, and for some, an acquired taste.

 

Kanburi at Himi Port in Toyama

Hokkaido wild buri sashimi

As for sashimi, we love kinmedai, hirame, kanburi and tairagai. If you get a fresh kawahagi for sashimi, save the liver, mash it in a mortar and pestle, and add it to some ponzu for a creamy dipping sauce. Shijimi miso soup is a wonderful way to start any day. Best of all may be all the succulent crabs that are in season like taraba-gani, benizuwai-gani and zuwai-gani.

A classic winter dish is buri daikon. (recipe here)

If you click on the Japanese name of the seafood you should be directed to a link with a photo.

Akagarei 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Akōdai 赤魚鯛 rockfish (Sebastes matsubarae)

Amadai 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicus)

Ankō 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Ankimo – monkfish liver

Benizuwaigani 楚蟹  red snow crab (Chionoecetes japonicus)

Buri 鰤 Japanese yellowtail (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Fugu 真河豚 blowfish or pufferfish (Takifugu porphyreus)

Gokko 布袋魚 smooth lumpsucker (Aptocyclus ventricosus)

Hamaguri 浜栗  common Orient clam (Meretrix lusoria)

Hata hata 鰰  sailfin sandfish (Arctoscopus japonicus)

Hirame 鮃 olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Hokke 𩸽 arabesque greenling (Pleurogrammus azonus)

Honmaguro 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

* also called kuromaguro

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Houbou 魴 gurnard (Chelidonichthys spinosus)

Iidako 飯蛸 ocellated octopus (Octopus ocellatus)

Kaki 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Kanburi 寒鰤 winter Japanese amberjack (see buri) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

* The port of Himi in Toyama is famous for its kanburi.

Kasago 笠子 scorpionfish (Sebastiscus marmoratus)

Kawahagi 皮剥 thread-sail filefish  (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kinki 黄血魚 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai 金目 (sometimes called kinme) splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Madai 真鯛 seabream (Pagurus major)

Matara 真鱈 codfish (Gadus macrocephalus)

Matsuba gani 松葉蟹 spiny crab (Hypothalassia armata)

Matsukawa 松皮鰈 barfin flounder (Verasper moseri)

Mekajiki  女旗魚  swordfish (Xiphias gladias)

Mirugai 海松食 geoduck (Tresus keenae)

Mizudako 水蛸 North Pacific giant octopus (Octopus dofleini)

Mutsu gnomefish (Scombrops boops)

Namako 生子 sea cucumber (Stichopus japonica)

Nametagarei 婆鰈 slime flounder (MIicrostomus achne)

Nishin 鰊  Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)

Saba 鯖 Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sawara 鰆 Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Shijimi 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Shira ebi 白海老 glass shrimp (Pasiphaea japonica)

Shirako milt from fugu or tara

Shirauo 白魚 whitefish or ice goby (Salangichthys microdon)

Tairagai 平貝  penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tara 真鱈 codfish (Gadus macrocephalus)

Tarabagani 鱈場蟹 Alaskan king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

Tsubugai つぶ貝 whelk  (Buccinum undatum)

Umazurahagi 馬面剥 filefish scraper (Thamnaconus modestus)

Wakasagi 若細魚 Japanese smelt  (Hypomesus nipponensis)

Yanagi dako 柳蛸 chestnut octopus (Octopus conispadiceus)

Yari ika 槍烏賊 spear squid (Loligo (Heterololigo) bleekeri)

Zuwaigani 頭矮蟹 snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

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